To Compliment or Not To Compliment
Written by Heather Foley
I work in the hustling and bustling financial district. Between taking the bus and walking around the South Station/Rose Kennedy Greenway area, I literally cross paths with hundreds of people. Some of these people look downright crazy - seriously I look at some people and think to myself “Where the heck can they work?” But some people, some people look downright fantastic. At least once a day I see a woman wearing something I would straight up murder her for, and I wonder whether or not I should tell her. Well not tell her I would murder her for neon peplum top, just tell her that I like it. It’s a big quandary I have. Do you tell a random stranger on the street you like what they’re wearing? Or really any compliment? I see both sides of the coin, one is that I think its really nice to sincerely compliment anyone, the other is that walking up to someone on the street and telling them you like their pants can kinda sound a little creepy.
Personally, I’ve always loved getting a compliment from a stranger - well, I love a compliment from anyone. I remember as a teenager someone telling me they liked my haircut, I told them they could take a picture of it, I was so shy. A compliment from a stranger is totally unsolicited, and therefore in my mind, completely sincere. A stranger doesn’t know if I had a bad day, that I thought my knees looked fat this morning, or is simply looking for a compliment in return. If someone I don’t know comes up to me on the street and tells me they like my skirt, they really and truly like my skirt, right? When someone who doesn’t know me from Adam tells me I look nice (or some variation) I feel like the effort I put into getting dressed in the morning is not in vain, that the public at large appreciates it.
Now just because I love a random compliment from anyone off the street doesn’t mean everyone does. I can understand why some people might not; there is kind of a creep element to it. Like “Hey stranger, why are you looking at me? Mind ya business and keep it moving.” And yes, every once and while you might get a creepy compliment, some weirdo might tell you that your boots really bring out the fullness of your lips, or your earring makes your bum look nice, but really are those bad things? Don’t let the creepiness distract from the fact that you look good, so good that someone had to go out of their way to tell you.
I don’t think my compliments would come off as creepy. I’m not saying I’m not a creep (I am - a big one), but I can manage to say, “I like your pants” without sounding like Buffalo Bill. I think the key is to stick with the clothes. Say, “I like the dress” and leave it at that. Don’t add anything about how the dress makes the person look, not even something you think they would like to hear like “It makes your waist look tiny.” Unless you’re talking to me, feel free to tell me anything makes my waist looks tiny.
So friends, what’s the call? Do I stop the next person I see wearing something I love and tell them? Or do I let them walk on by, never knowing how I covet their goods? How would you feel if I told you I loved your top? Would it make your day or kinda creep you out? Let me know, and don’t ever be shy if you want to compliment me - I’m all ears when it comes to that sort of thing.